Author(s): Bergmann L, Maute L, Heil G, Rssel J, Weidmann E
BACKGROUND: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most common malignant tumours and is still associated with a poor prognosis in advanced disease. To improve the standard therapy with gemcitabine, we initiated a prospective randomised phase-II trial with gemcitabine (GEM) versus gemcitabine plus sunitinib (SUNGEM) based on data of in vitro trials and phase-I data for the combination treatment. The rational of adding sunitinib was its putative antiangiogenic mechanism of action.
METHODS: A total of 106 eligible patients with locally advanced, unresectable or metastatic PDAC without previous system therapy were randomised to receive GEM at a dosage of 1.000mg/m(2) d1, 8, 15 q28 versus a combination of SUNGEM at a dosage of GEM 1.000mg/m(2) d1+8 and sunitinib 50mg p.o. d1-14, q21d. The primary end-point was progression free survival (PFS), secondary end-points were overall survival (OS), toxicity and overall response rate (ORR).
RESULTS: The confirmatory analysis of PFS was based on the intend-to-treat (ITT) population (N=106). The median PFS was 13.3 weeks (95% confidence interval (95%-CI): 10.4-18.1 weeks) for GEM and 11.6 weeks for SUNGEM (95%-CI: 7.0-18.0 weeks; p=0.78 one-sided log-rank). The ORR was 6.1% (95%-CI: 0.7-20.2%) for GEM and for 7.1% (95%-CI: 0.9-23.5%) for SUNGEM (p=0.87). The median time to progression (TTP) was 14.0 weeks (95%-CI: 12.4-22.3 weeks) for GEM and 18.0 weeks (95%-CI: 11.3-19.3 weeks) for SUNGEM (p=0.60; two-sided log-rank). The median OS was 36.7 weeks (95%-CI: 20.6-49.0 weeks) for the GEM arm and 30.4 weeks (95%-CI: 18.1-37.6 weeks) for the SUNGEM (p=0.78, one-sided log-rank). In regard to toxicities, suspected SAEs were reported in 53.7% in the GEM arm and 71.2% in the SUNGEM arm. Grade 3 and 4 neutropenia was statistically significantly higher in the SUNGEM arm with 48.1% versus 27.8% in the GEM arm (p=0.045, two sided log-rank).
CONCLUSIONS: The combination SUNGEM was not sufficient superior in locally advanced or metastatic PDAC compared to GEM alone in regard to efficacy but was associated with more toxicity.